Initially, my biggest worry was how will I see everything I want to see and travel to all the places I want to travel. It's quite simple. I can’t. I am maximizing my chances to accomplish this by staying in Europe a month after my program ends. My original list of countries to travel to consisted of: France, England, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Prague, Greece, Sweden, and the Netherlands (I'll let you know how that works out).
Something that I had to remind myself was that I can't forget about exploring the place I will actually be living in - Italy. There simply isn’t enough time to do everything, but I know that this is not the only trip I will take to Europe. After stressing and trying to plan out my entire trip to the last detail, I only planned one trip, Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. I will plan the rest of my travels once I get to Europe. I did however come across a superb tool to plan my trips. Euroadventures has it all - including trips to every destination I had thought about traveling to. Once I am in Florence and meet all my classmates, I will then sit down and pick the destinations I want to see. My entire life I have been a planner and for once I am going with the flow. I know that my journey in itself will be a giant adventure so I and confident that there is no reason to stress over traveling because that will happen without a doubt. There are plenty of ways to guarantee you are traveling in the most efficient way - and I truly believe EuroAdventures is a main benefactor.
While all I wanted to do was plan my excursions around Europe, there was still a ton of stuff to do. Talk to credit card companies, cell phone carriers, and get a passport and visa are just the start of it. If you have parents that like to nag you, you are both lucky and very unlucky. Your parents will drive you crazy, but they will also make sure you get everything done. These tasks are not hard, but must be done. The last thing you want is to get to Europe and not be able to use your credit card.
One of the hardest parts of traveling came next. I had to pack. For me this is easy. For starters I am a male (sorry women, but packing for you is a bit tougher) and secondly I like to think of myself as a packing pro. I laid out all my clothes. Basically my entire closet was laid on out on my floor. I want to add I am packing not only for the hot days of September and October, but also the freezing days of November, December, and January. When my mom and sisters saw that I was going to pack my snowboarding garb along with my everyday clothes, they called me crazy. There is no way I am going to be in Europe and not shred through the Alps. I plan to board not only in the Italian Alps, but also the Swiss and French Alps. I was told about every hour for two days that there is no way “you can pack all that in one bag without wearing your ski jacket on the plane.” Lets be honest, I never planned to wear my huge puffy jacket on the plane. In the end, all my clothes fit in one bag. Yes, mom, the jacket too!
The most important aspect of my trip had to be taken care of next. MUSIC. I can’t go anywhere without music. I know I will be traveling on countless trains and planes and nothing would be worse than running out of music to listen to. The night before I left, I ensured that my itunes library was in tip-top shape. If I can recommend one piece of pre-departure advice, it is to make sure you have enough music to accompany you on all the trips you plan to take.
And now, I am an hour away from landing at London’s Heathrow Airport. As hard as it was to say good-bye to friends and family, new and exciting times are ahead. Although the pre-departure business that had to be done provided plenty of excitement, the real adventure starts in an hour. I hope you will check back to see how my trip unfolds.
Bumpin’ “Black Faces” by Childish Gambino,
Jeremy is from Encino, California and is in his third year at the University of California, San Diego. He will be studying at the American Institute for Foreign Study in Florence, Italy. His biggest passion is the “beautiful” game of soccer and plays Club Soccer at this school, where he experienced his greatest college moment, winning a National Championship. He is also a huge Arsenal fan and is pumped to go to a few games in Europe. Traveling is his second passion and has done a bit of it in Europe and the United States, but hopes to find a new favorite city in the world as he travels this semester. He also hopes you will join him on these travels.
What are YOUR biggest pre-departure concerns? Post them in the comments section!